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cull the herd

1. Literally, to separate or remove (and usually kill) inferior animals out of a herd so as to reduce numbers or remove undesirable traits from the group as a whole. We had to quickly cull the herd when it came to light that some cows might be carrying an infectious disease.
2. By extension, to separate or remove people from a larger group. With so many people applying for a limited number of jobs, employers have had to cull the herd by introducing much stricter criteria and a more elaborate application for hiring. Universities have long used standardized test results as a means of culling the herd of applicants they receive each year.
See also: cull, herd

cull (someone or something) out of (something)

To remove someone or something from a group. We were so determined to win the science bowl that we culled everyone who seemed susceptible to stage fright out of the team.
See also: cull, of, out

cull someone or something out of something

 and cull someone or something out
to eliminate someone or something from a group. We will cull the older pigeons out from the flock. They culled out the slower runners from the team.
See also: cull, of, out


n. a socially unacceptable person. This place is so filled with culls! Let’s split.
References in periodicals archive ?
Animal welfare campaigners who have opposed the cull welcomed the withdrawal of support for controlled shooting but said the BVA's ongoing support for cage-trapping and shooting - a more expensive option - was "regrettable".
Amanda Callaghan, aged 47 and her mother Carol, aged 66, both from Kingstanding, said they were outraged by the decision to cull the badgers.
Shameful "Now that this shameful badger cull shambles can be seen, it's time to proceed with the only strategy that can succeed in the eradication of bovine TB - vaccination of badgers and other wildlife, and the prioritisation of work to licence the vaccine for cattle.
It said: "We therefore considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim, along with the text 'The UK government wants to shoot England's badgers', to mean that all badgers would be eradicated in the cull areas.
It is a very good time for David Cameron to reconsider and withdraw from this monstrous cull.
Farmers support a cull but animal welfare campaigners claim scientific evidence, public opinion and financial costs all favour an alternative to the cull.
Farmers say the cull is necessary to tackle tuberculosis in cattle, but the plans have been strongly opposed by wildlife campaigners.
Each year, biologists used a helicopter to survey the quality of deer in the cull and control areas.
I want to thank Mr Morgan for telling me that he supports the cull and has signed his name to the proposal.
In one bedroom the three older boys had slept In a second, measuring just ten feet by twelve, the Culls had crammed two beds.
He notes that the new measurements show badger culls reducing TB transmission 19 percent at best, leaving cattle-to-cattle transmission as a major problem.
Seven additional licences were granted last month for culls in parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, following previous cull schemes in three areas of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset.
The bill for policing three years of culls now tops PS6.
The figures suggest the cost to the public of two pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset has been even higher than estimates by anti-cull campaigners.